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The Temple of Frank and Other Stuff

Last place in the Atlantic Division is up for grabs. The Butler gets a day off and an ‘Atta boy’ from Wake. The long knives are drawn in Chapel Hill. Tech fans had REALLY better be worried now. There’s never a dull moment around these parts.

It was not exactly up there with the Pakistan earthquake or umpires Doug Eddings and Ed Rapuano making up Major League Baseball rules as they go along- awarding a player first base every time he strikes out will certainly do wonders for offensive production- but there was an interesting bit of news flying under the sports radar.

Temple coach Bobby Wallace announced that he would be stepping down at the end of the year. Congratulations are in order to Wallace for finally escaping the Somalia of I-A football. It is tough to win at Wake Forest; at Temple it is impossible. Travis had an easier assignment at the Alamo than did Wallace trying to build something at Temple.

Wallace had won big on the division II level at Northern Alabama and middling things were expected of him when he displayed a remarkable lack of common sense and took on the job after the Owls fired the hapless Ron Dickerson, the Marshal Graziani of football. Bobby got off to a decent start, pulling a wild upset over Virginia Tech in his first year. That was a game that still irks some of us.

Despite the promise of gridiron success that win portended, Wallace’s program succumbed to the problems always found in the North Broad football offices, those of a total lack of administrative backing for the program and the frenzied antipathy of what is laughingly referred to as the Temple fan base. He had no chance.

Things reached rock bottom in 2001 when Temple was templed from the Big East, effective this year. It made Wallace’s recruiting a bit dicey. The recruiting pitch of ‘Come to Temple and be a part of the dismantling’ did not yield positive results. While his record is an overall 19-65, certainly not bad by Duke standards, after hitting a high-water mark of four wins in 2002, Wallace’s record is 3-25 since. Again, this is pretty good when compared to Duke, but not exactly optimum results.

Wallace has thrown in the towel. That means, of course, that the Temple job is now available. On the surface, it would seem the list of people clamoring for the opportunity to lose badly would not be long. Other than all of those Temple loons putting together office pools for Rick Neuheisel, it would seem not a lot of candidates would be contacting Bill Bradshaw. It is doubtful Pete Carroll will be on the short list. Other than maybe Fred Goldsmith, a past master at taking a bad situation and making it worse, who wants this job?

While most coaches worth their salt will react with hysterical laughter at any mention of taking the Temple job, it is likely to be viewed as opportunity by at least one person. Fans of Virginia Tech should start worrying again.

Jimmy Sexton has probably already been on the phone to Temple AD Bill Bradshaw. The agent for Frank Beamer will soon have an offer in hand with which to frank Tech. Let the ‘Frank Beamer to Temple’ rumors begin.

There seems little doubt that Frank would regard this as an ideal situation. Take the schedule, for instance. Frank has a love affair with playing MAC teams. With Temple joining that conference, he would no longer have to settle for a measly one or two MAC teams a year; Frank would have an entire league schedule of nothing but. Why enter into scheduling negotiations with Notre Dame when Ball State is already on the schedule?

With the CAA expanding up and down the Eastern seaboard faster than the ACC, there would be ample opportunities for OOC games against the other great Tech scheduling lynchpin, I-AA teams. Temple-Drexel would be one heck of a rivalry with games much more exciting than Tech-JMU. Who cares about Tech-Tennessee at Bristol? How about Temple-Butler at Ben Hur Speedway? CSTV would be chomping at the bit to cancel ECU-SMU for this blockbuster. Frank could achieve scheduling Nirvana.

There is the little matter of how Temple would be able to afford Frank Beamer and his staff. After all, they currently make more than the entire Temple football budget, scholarships included. No problem. Everybody knows each and every Athletic Director keeps mountains of cash in the basement, refusing to spend it on improving their programs. Temple is bound to have one, too. If not, Bill Cosby has plenty of money.

Tech fans had better worry about this one. Frank Beamer to Temple is in play. It sure makes Kentucky seem like a hoot.

It seems Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski will coach the US team in the 2008 Bejing Olympics. USA Basketball Managing Director Jerry Colangelo announcing that Coach K had not yet been selected confirmed this. This seems an excellent move. The stern and demanding Coach K will infuse toughness into a USA squad composed mainly of NBA slackers possessing none whatsoever. Chinese basketball fans will have the opportunity to learn English profanity.

Corporate America will be all over these Olympics. Included will be those two great augmenters of Coach K’s Duke salary, Nike and American Express. There will be limitations, however. It is doubtful Coach K will visit any Chinese prisons to observe sneaker manufacturing, or AMEX will be handing out cards to the prisoners who comprise Nike’s labor force. Perhaps we will see commercials on the effectiveness of Nike athletic shoes when running from tanks in Tianamen Square. For their part, AMEX could resurrect Chairman Mao, uttering, “American Express. Don’t start a Long March without it.” Or without Nike walking shoes, for that matter. There are opportunities for cross-marketing.

The hiring of this country’s best basketball coach to bring the gold medal back to its rightful home will not sit well in some places, however. They will not be pleased in Argentina, Lithuania, or the People’s Republic of Chapel Hill. The first two will not be happy with what is likely to be a much more difficult opponent with which to deal. As for the Heeliban, well, is an explanation really necessary?

The awarding of the US job to that evil rat-faced Roach K will no doubt spark anti-American demonstrations on the Quad and all along Franklin Street. These will be in addition to the usual anti-American demonstrations on the Quad and all along Franklin Street. These latest will be distinguishable by Woody’s brother out front leading the ‘Down with USA’ chants. Swagger is going to get three years worth of great material out of this one.

The Hoos have announced that starting offensive tackle and cheap shot artist Brad Butler will be suspended for their annual loss to Florida State this Saturday. That is at least equal to the amount of time that will be missed by Boston College defensive lineman Mathias Kiwanuka, who was injured last week during the Hoo-Fredo game following Butler’s cheap shot heard around the world.

Butler has yet to call Kiwanuka to apologize, since part of being a Hoo is never having to say you’re sorry. The Hoo miscreant Butler has no doubt received a congratulatory message from Hoo alum Jim Grobe. With the All-American Kiwanuka out, Wake’s odds of beating Fredo for a third straight time got shorter. Those Hoo alumni networks certainly come in handy.

In addition to all of this frivolity, there will indeed be some football games played this weekend. Miami-Temple and Georgia Tech- Duke are certainly biggies, exactly what Little John had in mind when he pushed for ACC expansion. The Canes will have to deal with the ‘Win one for Bobby’ sentiment, which should be worth at least a field goal to the Owls after Larry Coker calls off the dogs. Duke will strive for the dual goals of holding an opponent under forty points and breaking the ten thousand-attendance barrier without fans of Virginia Tech or the Rolling Stones.

The weekend’s biggest ACC game will be held before the weekend even starts. A few hours after the posting of this piece, NC State and Clemson will tangle in the Textile Bowl. Fans of both teams are not altogether thrilled that the loser will snatch undisputed possession of last place in the Atlantic Division.

The Wolfpack got a badly needed win last Thursday, slightly easing the pressure on Chuck Amato. Chuckie killed the red shoes and sunglasses look in Atlanta. I’m sure most fans of the Pack will take another win over their coach dressing like a clown any night, including this one. Now if he could just get his players to stop committing stupid penalties, something good could still be salvaged from this season.

Clem’s Tommy Bowden is in a familiar position, that of catching serious heat. Back-to-back OT losses at home to Miami and Fredo are one thing, but losing to Wake is like pouring gas on the Esso Club and tossing in a match. I’m sure fund-raising for the new Death Valley football facility has gone well recently. The Tigers will be making this season’s last stand against a State team that also really needs to win. These kinds of games are usually interesting ones. The Muffler Bowl hangs in the balance.

Virginia Tech, Maryland and North Carolina all have the weekend off. At least John Bunting and that bad loss is ignored as the Heels go ballistic over Coach K, again. There are advantages to coaching at a basketball school, eh, Big John?

This will also be the weekend I get re-acquainted with my recliner. I have spent six straight weeks of traveling somewhere to watch Tech football and this weekend’s plans died. It will give me the opportunity to spend twelve hours or so watching football on television for a change. It might not be a bad change of pace.

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